Building trust: Here’s what you need to know about The Davos Agenda 2021

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This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • From 25 – 29 January, world leaders will meet virtually for a week of high-level talks hosted by the World Economic Forum.
  • The Davos Agenda 2021 will center on the theme of a “Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust”.
  • Sessions will focus on critical issues such as COVID-19 vaccination programmes, job creation and climate change.

Over the past year, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has devastated lives and livelihoods across the globe, laying bare structural inequities – and making clear the urgency of more fairly rebuilding the world’s social and economic systems in the wake of the crisis.

Now, with the first vaccine doses being administered and light at the end of this dark tunnel in sight, the Forum is holding a week of virtual high-level meetings. The Davos Agenda will bring together global leaders at the forefront of the world’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the attendant economic crisis, with the aim of developing forward-looking and sustainable solutions for a post-COVID world.

Here’s what you need to know.

Rebuilding trust

Starting on Monday, 25 January, more than 1,200 leaders from business, government and civil society from 60 countries will convene virtually to discuss the overarching theme of “A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust”.

The concept of societal trust has never been more timely, as evidenced by the recent publication of the Edelman Trust Barometer. Public trust is being eroded, in part due to the perceived mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Business now only institution seen as both competent and ethical
Only businesses are classed as both ethical and competent. Image: Edelman Trust

Professor Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman, says: “In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to reset priorities and the urgency to reform systems have been growing stronger around the world.

“Rebuilding trust and increasing global cooperation are crucial to foster innovative and bold solutions to stem the pandemic and drive a robust recovery. This unique meeting will be an opportunity for leaders to outline their vision and address the most important issues of our time, such as the need to accelerate job creation and to protect the environment.”

Daily deep dives

Each day of the five-day program will have its own in-depth focus for participants to take up, with an emphasis on creating real impact through concrete and forward-thinking policies in 2021:

1. Designing cohesive, sustainable, resilient economic systems (25 January)

2. Driving responsible industry transformation and growth (26 January)

3. Enhancing stewardship of the global commons (27 January)

4. Harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (28 January)

5. Advancing global and regional cooperation (29 January)

The Davos Agenda will also see the launch of several new Forum initiatives: to accelerate the race to net-zero emissions, champion new standards for social justice and to close the digital divide.

Key attendees

Taking part in the discussions will be heads of state and government including Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany; Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; and Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China.

They will be joined by leaders from international organizations, including Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations; Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Dr Anthony Fauci, Director, US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; and Christine Lagarde, President, European Central Bank.

Here’s how you can follow the Davos Agenda. https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/1164163702&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true

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